Learning-by-doing means that the organization makes and builds things, conducts experiments, and builds prototypes. This includes the manufacturing process. The loss of absorptive capacity insight can often be traced to outsourcing. Outsourcing typically occurs when products and service margins are under severe market pressure, and organizations are forced to increase productivity by turning to locations where labor costs are substantially lower. This can have serious consequences. If the organization loses its absorptive capacity, then the organization may not be able to understand and recognize when an emerging technology is important. In essence, the organization does not have the ability to acquire know-how, expertise and skills because it has lost the ability to learn-by-doing and learn-about emerging ideas and technologies. Grove's solution to recapturing creative and innovative mojo is to reduce costs by also increasing the scale of operations. The essence of his idea is that if an organization can produce more, it will also be able to take advantage of learning effects and to cover the fixed costs of production. Intel is committed to product differentiation, scale and cost reduction, in-house manufacturing, and in-house design. Long-term sustainability is inextricably linked to the synergistic interplay of design, manufacturing, and market awareness.
There is a revolution taking place in all businesses. Additive and desktop manufacturing, open-source software, and the do-it-yourself movement are fueling this revolution. Products and components can be conceptualized, designed, and built using 3D printers. These printers use a process that is similar to building up layers of plastic and composite materials to build products and parts and to prototype ideas. A do-it-yourselfer can assemble such a printer for under $1,000. A commercial printer can be obtained in the $10–$20K range. The products produced from these printers can be used to produce commercial products and for prototyping. Large-scale 3D printers are being developed to produce products and components the size of aircraft wings. There is also a revolution taking place in the development of services. Cloud computing, applications development tools, and open-source software are having a profound impact on the delivery of software-related services and applications. Software start-ups and prototypes can be constructed without investing in large-scale hardware infrastructure. The software itself can be cobbled together with a variety of development tools and open-source software. Competition can come from any size of company from anywhere in the world. All that is needed is an idea, hard work, and experimentation.